Understanding Third World Politics
Third Edition

Understanding Third World Politics

Theories of Political Change and Development
Third Edition
B. C. Smith
Distribution: U.S. and Canada
Publication date: 5/1/2009
Format: paper 288 pages
5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-0-253-22104-9
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Now in its third edition, Understanding Third World Politics is a comprehensive, critical introduction to key political theories and controversies in international development for students in Third World politics, political and economic development, and comparative government courses. B. C. Smith reviews the shared and increasingly diverse experiences of developing societies, debates about the nature of imperialism, and the usefulness and limitations of the term "Third World" as an organizing concept. He evaluates explanations of political change and theorizes the character and dynamics of political institutions and the instabilities they face today.

Author Bio

B. C. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Dundee. He is author of Bureaucracy and Political Power.


"Smith's work provides not only an excellent review of the literature, but a thoughtful critical evaluation that taken as a whole constitutes a valuable presentation of the current state of Third World studies." —Journal of Third World Studies

"This masterful and concise volume overviews the range of approaches social scientists have applied to explain events in the Third World. Controversial conceptualizations such as dependency, authoritarianism, and modernization are insightfully juxtaposed. The resulting comparison and contrast of theories provides a useful summary of relevant analyses produced by academics during the decades since the 1940s." —Journal of Developing Areas

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Table of Contents

1. The Idea of a "Third World"
2. Modernization and Political Development
3. Neo-Colonialism and Dependency
4. The State in the Third World
5. Political Parties and Party Systems
6. Bureaucracy and Political Power
7. Military Intervention in Politics
8. Nationalism and Succession
9. Instability and Revolution
10. Democratization in the Third World
11. Conclusion